Learning patterns/Engaging Regional US-Based Museums Around the Gender Gap

A learning pattern forGLAM
Engaging Regional US-Based Museums Around the Gender Gap
problemHow can we develop low barrier to entry Wiki tasks for regional museums around the gender gap on Wikipedia? What types of knowledge and information can we access, that are currently missing on Wikipedia, from these museums?
solutionBy using the Smithsonian Affiliate system, we've been able to train large numbers of museum staff from all over the country on basic Wiki knowledge and tasks. By asking museums to generate lists of the most notable women in their context/s, we can add these women to Wikipedia at our events, through Wikidata, and microcrowdsourcing events.
created on18:32, 28 May 2020 (UTC)

What problem does this solve?

  • How to get more content about American women onto Wikipedia
  • How to connect with museums of all sizes and topic areas in the U.S. with Wikipedia / Wikipedia, the gender gap, and the Wiki community
  • There aren't enough user groups or affiliates in the U.S. to provide in person trainings or events in all areas / states. This virtual program helps to mitigate that barrier to entry.

What is the solution?


Working with Smithsonian Affiliate museums has helped us at the Smithsonian find new ways to engage with Wikipedia and the gender gap. Not all museum professionals have the time to dedicate to Wikipedia editing and/or hosting events like edit-a-thons and we are missing out on the content these museums have as a result. By asking for low stakes tasks to be completed, like compiling a spreadsheet/list of the ten most notable women in their field/s, we are engaging them in the Wikipedia/media landscape and helping to close the gender gap online. We can then add these names to worklists like WikiWomen in Red, and use them for worklists at Smithsonian in-person Wiki events, and use Wikidata tools to mass ingest this data. We also ask the museum to provide any additional supplemental information beyond the name that can help to establish notability (a few sentences, references, finding aid links, etc.) Similarly, this task could also include images and/or be solely image based.

Things to consider

  • What networks can you use to locate regional museum or GLAM professionals?
    • How can you reach a lot of interested GLAMS's at once? Consider mailing lists and conference associations.
  • Consider low barrier to entry tasks - like list building, images, etc. that limit the time on the museum and how much in depth Wiki editing they need to do themselves on the front end.
  • Let their interest guide your training. Meaning, don't get too into the weeds about Wiki specific editing practices. Help them to understand the gaps, why we need them and their content / expertise, and how beneficial this content and their knowledge would be to our community.
  • Consider how lists generated from this project can be mass ingested into Wikidata to generate stub articles.
  • It helps to have at least two members of your team working on this project: a person adept at community organizing and someone who understands the more precise technical aspects of a data ingest or batch uploading.

When to use

  • This pattern could be applied to many situations. One in particular that comes to mind for our community is Wikimania engagement. When the organizers reach out to local GLAMS for culture crawls, events, etc. this low barrier to entry task could be useful in setting the stage for more large scale engagement during Wikimania. Alternatively, this could be something our community works with GLAMS on while on site during pre-conference activities.
  • GLAM professional conferences have great social media and listserv networks where you could pitch this idea and look for interested GLAMs.



See also